I grew up in a world where Mom only locked the doors if we were going to be gone for more than one overnight. Dad left a spare key out where we could find it if we needed it – and that was to the business and the house.
I grew up in tiny villages (300 people) to small towns (5000 people) to a college town (18K – with all the students).
I didn’t start locking my car till my backpack was stolen freshman year of high school. Mostly I was pissed because I had a report in there that was completed and untyped and I had to redo it.
I didn’t grow up in a bubble – Dad was a mortician, a county coroner, death happened, it also paid the bills. Sitting at Dad’s desk meant risking seeing photos of “oh wow, that’s what happens when a Ford Probe meets a telephone pole …. daaaaaaamn.” Going to get him from “the back” sometimes came with the shock of realizing he was working on a tiny little person who wasn’t going to grow up.
I live in an Air Force town. War and fighting are relevant in the abstract. After 9/11, when the skies were quiet everywhere else, we had B2s flying east … and home again.
I did grow up without violence in my face – it belonged on tv and very rarely made it close to my life. I didn’t think about things like “tactical advantage“.
The first time I touched a gun was when I was dolled up for bridesmaid duty, I drunkly tossed my arm around the waist of my matching groomsman and my hand landed perfectly grasping the butt of his gun. As I did the sharp intake of breath, he said “smile” …. and I did. Brilliantly beautiful smile covering the OMGWTFBBQGUN reaction in my head.
After that, I started dating said groomsman. I learned about not wanting to have your back to a door, I got used to glowing nightsights in the dark of a bedroom, paperwork filed in triplicate in airports, having a meetup point if shit went south at a football game and we needed to beat a retreat.
It was a different way of thinking, I didn’t like it, I didn’t like looking at the world with eyes sweeping left to right and back again while being on the watch for crazy. I got used to it though. It was a way of life, and at the root of it was the knowledge that being aware meant we had each others’ back. Nothing bad was happening TO us if we could help it.
Now I am a good shot with a gun. Some guns. My accuracy varies widely. I know basics. Such as “always assume the gun is loaded and ready and treat it as such”, “only put your finger on the trigger if you intend to pull it”, “only aim it at something or someone you want a great big fucking hole in”.
Now I have to have conversations with my son about them. “See this? This is a gun, it is loud, it can put big holes in things and hurt people. If you want to see it, touch it, talk about it, you get an adult and we will explain to you anything you want to know. The gun sits on a shelf waaaaay up there where you can not reach it. Please do not try to get it alone – all you EVER have to do is ask and we will get it and teach you about it.” Calm conversation. Giving him facts he can understand, explaining safety, not creating fear, teaching respect.
In a circumstance of an intruder in my home, I’m fairly certain my response will be getting to Alex and bailing us out his window and running like the wind, all thoughts of bang behind me. I’m okay with that. In my head, my priority is having Alex’s back and getting us away from danger.
M’love is a raging rabid 2nd amendment fan. He has an assortment of guns, including the currently target for the anti gun crowd – the AR15. People are making points that AR15s are only for killing people … lots of people … no need for civilians to have them – Others are screaming 2nd amendment! 2nd amendment! Give me my weapons!
Here’s the deal as I see it. Ready?
Where is the limit of what weapons we want in the hands of civilians? On a continuum of Slingshot to Nuclear Warhead – where is the line drawn? Seems a reasonable way to go about discussion. Provided people are reasonable about it.
Which brings me to my next point. Reasonable people.
I held an AR15 last month. Shot it. Several times. Never had the urge to whip it around and shoot anyone. (To be totally honest, M’love snickered at one point and I did consider pistol whipping him with it… but that is another discussion entirely).
That man in Colorado? Something was sprung in his head. Take away his guns and he would have used bombs, take away his fuses, he would have used a vehicle, take away his vehicle and he would have used tomatoes. Somewhere along the way, he decided that mass murder was a good idea. I’m pretty sure he didn’t have a friend there who looked at his outfit and said, “Hey man, enjoy the show tonight, let me know if Christian Bale is still using the gargling marbles voice.”
I bring it around to this. We all need someone watching our back. We need to feel connected to a person or people or community. We need to give a damn about someone and want the best for them, want to protect them. We also need people who are looking out for us. We need the girlfriend who says, “I’m not going in public with you in that outfit”. We need the conservative/liberal opposites like I have with Mommentator. We need to remind each other to not be sheep when listening to the charismatic voices on the radio. We need the person who reminds us we have value when we feel like the whole world has gone crazy and is against us.
I believe focusing on the weapons is a mistake, I believe focusing on the people and what happened to lead them to that very messed up place is a better use of our energy.
We need people to have our back. We need to invest in others and watch their backs as well.
YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!
This is from M’love:
It is very important to think about things like meet up locations and the like. Always have your friends and families backs. The important thing that was not addressed in this post is policemen. Now they will have your back – they always will, that’s their job… once they get there. You as an American citizen are responsible for your safety. The police are there to protect you, the problem is, however, that they cannot protect you all the time. The best they can do is respond to your problem. Very rarely will a policeman be near you in a case that you need protection. Please please protect yourselves first and let the cops take over the situation once they arrive.
I got you. 🙂
I’ve never touched a gun in my life and I never want to. Does that mean I’m risking harm to myself or my kids by not having a gun for “protection”? I don’t know.
My fear is, if I had a gun, and if it came to a point where I was in a situation where I needed to protect myself, I would hesitate. And then it becomes all too easy for the other person to get the gun and use it against me.
So I’ll stick to my pepper spray and baseball bat. It won’t kill anyone, but I won’t hesitate to use them if I need to.
Here’s more ideas on how to protect yourself that don’t involve guns http://sofrep.com/7076/womens-self-defense-weekly-less-than-lethal-defense-options/
“Where is the limit of what weapons we want in the hands of civilians? On a continuum of Slingshot to Nuclear Warhead – where is the line drawn? Seems a reasonable way to go about discussion.”
If you were a burglar, would you pick the home with the NRA bumper stickers on the car, or the one without?
These horrible crimes always happen in “gun-free” zones…never at, say, a shooting range. Even the Fort Hood shootings were in a “gun-free” zone on the base.
The Gabby Giffords shootings? Few people seem to know that the reason far more weren’t killed is because two separate individuals unaffiliated with her appearance heard the shots and ran TOWARDS the scene. Both were armed (one guy was buying a pack of smokes in a 7/11 I think) and tackled the guy to the ground and held him there until police arrived. No shoot-out occurred like the staunch anti-gun lobby claim will happen if there his a second (or in this case, third) gun on the scene.
I don’t know where I stand on the spectrum between slingshot and nuclear warhead…but I really can’t wrap my brain around the reaction some have to horrific events such as these that ALL guns should be banned. It’s funny, too…the Fast and Furious debacle? Can’t tell you how many anti-gun people I’ve heard say, “Well, the Mexican drug cartels would have gotten their hands on guns anyway”…but those SAME people advocate for bans on guns here. Because, I guess, only bad guys in Mexico will get their hands on guns. Here in the US bad guys will abide by gun bans?
Thanks for letting me rant. Maybe I need to get my own blog again…
The home I grew up in had guns. Many of them. They were never locked up and there was ammo within feet of them. My dad is part of the “never, never, NEVER point a gun at ANYONE (even a toy gun)” crowd. All of my brothers took gun safety when they were 12(?) and they have all hunted at one time or other. My dad and one brother still do hunt on a regular basis. Me? The only girl? Never touched a gun in my life. I’m sure I’m a horrible shot (non-stereo vision will do that). Needless to say I don not plan on taking up target shooting anytime soon.
I’m very aware that in a ‘home protection’ situation your gun can easily be turned on you. I’m also aware that teens are impulsive and, for lack of a better word, stupid. It’s why a teen was shot by his friend last year. They were pointing the gun at each other and didn’t realize it was loaded. I know that one of the reasons why more women attempt, and more men succeed, at suicide is that men use more lethal methods, usually a gun. Do I think that getting rid of guns would reduce suicides? Who knows. Does that mean we should ban guns? Probably not.
I also know that horrible crimes can be committed without the use of a gun. A good friend mine was in the process of earning her PhD so that she could help at-risk youth. She worked on a volunteer basis with women in domestic violence situations. She was.murdered when she was 27 because a 19 year old wanted her car and some money. He strangled her. Now her son, whom she loved dearly, is being raised without her. Is any of that important? Maybe not.
I agree that we need to look more at root causes than the guns themselves. Banning guns won’t ensure that unstable and/or mentally ill people have the opportunity for proper treatment. I don’t have any answers.
Thanks for letting me ramble on. Peace, love and protection to you and yours.
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